Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Feet Who Bring Glad Tidings

As we were waiting at the stoplight at a busy intersection on our way to Christmas Day Mass this morning, a woman struggling with a small roller bag walked up to the corner of the sidewalk by the right turn lane in our direction and held up a sign saying she was homeless and needed help. 

Immediately, my mind went through its normal "what should I do when I see a homeless person" inner-monologue routine. 

"Why is she there?  It's Christmas Day, no one should be out there in the rain.  Hm...if you were going to try and take advantage of people, pulling on their heartstrings today would definitely do it.  Stop judging!  I have some cash, I should give her some money.  But wait!  How long have I been at this light?  The light might turn green any second..."
My mind then went into parallel processing mode and I started scanning the stoplights in other directions to figure out when my light was going to turn green while continuing to think...

"I should at least give her some cash now.  Or we'll come back after Mass and see if we can meet a need more deeply - perhaps pay for a motel room for the night.  But no way she's still going to be standing there more than an hour later.  I could just reach out the window and try to hand her the cash.  But I'm in the furthest left lane.  But why am I so worried about inconveniencing a few people for a few seconds while I try to serve someone.  But what about her safety?"
All of this builds and builds (sometimes feeling like this) and then the light turns green.  "Okay," I think, "We'll definitely come back after Mass." 

During the homily at Mass, the priest talked mainly about the first reading from Isaiah 52:7-10, specifically about verse 7:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings"
He mentioned how in about a year from now, at the beginning of next Advent Season, the Gospel reading will be from Matthew 25 and what it means for us to be active in bringing glad tidings this year, feeding the hungry among other things. 

<sigh> My ears were burning.

We went back after Mass to look for this woman.  She was nowhere to be found.  I pray that God gives her what she needs...and hopefully my feet will be the one who can bring glad tidings next time.

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